Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature

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Overview

The Writer Uprooted is the first book to examine the emergence of a new generation of Jewish immigrant authors in America, most of whom grew up in formerly communist countries. In essays that are both personal and scholarly, the contributors to this collection chronicle and clarify issues of personal and cultural dislocation and loss, but also affirm the possibilities of reorientation and renewal. Writers, poets, translators, and critics describe how they have coped creatively with the trials of displacement and the challenges and opportunities of resettlement in a new land and, for some, authorship in a new language.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"[T]his is a worthwhile read.... Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers." —Choice, March 2009

East European Book Review
"What binds the writers in this book together, despite their varied approaches to exile and emigration, is that they all moved from one place and ideological system - the Soviet Union and Communist eastern Europe - to another, the United States, where they each have found quite successful personal and professional homes as writer, thinkers and tenured professors. This is no small feat for a fiction writer... Perhaps this is one of the volume's unwitting arguments: late twentieth/early twenty-first-century America is now or has once again become the cosmopolitan reservoir of so much Jewish literary creativity." —David Shneer, University of Colorado, East European Book Review, Vol. 39.2 August 2009

— David Shneer, University of Colorado

Shofar
"[T]his is an immensely valuable collection of truly stimulating essays." —SHOFAR, Vol. 28, no. 1, 2009
From the Publisher
"This engrossing volume brings evocative personal accounts of displacement—physical, emotional, and particularly linguistic—by contemporary writers like Norman Manea, Lara Vapnyar, and Geoffrey Hartman." —Jewish Book World, Spring 2009

"What binds the writers in this book together, despite their varied approaches to exile and emigration, is that they all moved from one place and ideological system - the Soviet Union and Communist eastern Europe - to another, the United States, where they each have found quite successful personal and professional homes as writer, thinkers and tenured professors. This is no small feat for a fiction writer... Perhaps this is one of the volume's unwitting arguments: late twentieth/early twenty-first-century America is now or has once again become the cosmopolitan reservoir of so much Jewish literary creativity." —David Shneer, University of Colorado, East European Book Review, Vol. 39.2 August 2009

This volume collects essays by eastern European Jewish writers all now living and working in the US: Norman Manea and Matei Calinescu from Romania, Henryk Grynberg and Katarzyna Jerzak from Poland, Lara Vapnyar and Dov-Ber Kerler from Russia, Zsuzsanna Ozsvath from Hungary, and Bronislava Volkova from Czechoslovakia. Rosenfeld (Indiana Univ., Bloomington) also includes a memoir by German-born literary critic Geoffrey Hartman about his long search for his Jewish origins, and an essay on immigrant writers by critic Morris Dickstein. A brief introduction by Rosenfeld and an afterword by Eva Hoffman, the author of Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989), complete the volume. The important issues of exile, from place and from language, are discussed from various viewpoints, though always more autobiographically than analytically. The organization of the book is curious: the opening piece, by Manea, is followed by Calinescu's discussion of Manea's memoir The Hooligan's Return (2003); Grynberg's autobiographical piece is followed by Jerzak's essay on both his and Manea's writing. Neither Hartman's account nor Dickstein's quite fits with the rest of the material—but doubtless this arises because the book comprises the proceedings of a conference. Despite these oddities, this is a worthwhile read. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers. —ChoiceH. I. Needler, Wesleyan University, March 2009

"[T]his is an immensely valuable collection of truly stimulating essays." —SHOFAR, Vol. 28, no. 1, 2009

"[T]his is a worthwhile read.... Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers." —Choice, March 2009

H. I. Needler

This volume collects essays by eastern European Jewish writers all now living and working in the US: Norman Manea and Matei Calinescu from Romania, Henryk Grynberg and Katarzyna Jerzak from Poland, Lara Vapnyar and Dov-Ber Kerler from Russia, Zsuzsanna Ozsvath from Hungary, and Bronislava Volkova from Czechoslovakia. Rosenfeld (Indiana Univ., Bloomington) also includes a memoir by German-born literary critic Geoffrey Hartman about his long search for his Jewish origins, and an essay on immigrant writers by critic Morris Dickstein. A brief introduction by Rosenfeld and an afterword by Eva Hoffman, the author of Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language (1989), complete the volume. The important issues of exile, from place and from language, are discussed from various viewpoints, though always more autobiographically than analytically. The organization of the book is curious: the opening piece, by Manea, is followed by Calinescu's discussion of Manea's memoir The Hooligan's Return (2003); Grynberg's autobiographical piece is followed by Jerzak's essay on both his and Manea's writing. Neither Hartman's account nor Dickstein's quite fits with the rest of the material--but doubtless this arises because the book comprises the proceedings of a conference. Despite these oddities, this is a worthwhile read. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers. --ChoiceH. I. Needler, Wesleyan University, March 2009

East European Book Review - David Shneer

"What binds the writers in this book together, despite their varied approaches to exile and emigration, is that they all moved from one place and ideological system - the Soviet Union and Communist eastern Europe - to another, the United States, where they each have found quite successful personal and professional homes as writer, thinkers and tenured professors. This is no small feat for a fiction writer... Perhaps this is one of the volume's unwitting arguments: late twentieth/early twenty-first-century America is now or has once again become the cosmopolitan reservoir of so much Jewish literary creativity." —David Shneer, University of Colorado, East European Book Review, Vol. 39.2 August 2009

SHOFAR

"[T]his is an immensely valuable collection of truly stimulating essays." —SHOFAR, Vol. 28, no. 1, 2009

Choice

"[T]his is a worthwhile read.... Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers." —Choice, March 2009

Jewish Book World

"This engrossing volume brings evocative personal accounts of displacement—physical, emotional, and particularly linguistic—by contemporary writers like Norman Manea, Lara Vapnyar, and Geoffrey Hartman." —Jewish Book World, Spring 2009

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253219817
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Series: Jewish Literature and Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alvin H. Rosenfeld is Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, and founder and former director of the Indiana University Borns Jewish Studies Program. He is author of Imagining Hitler (IUP, 1985) and A Double Dying: Reflections on Holocaust Literature (IUP, 1980). He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction Alvin H. Rosenfeld Rosenfeld, Alvin H.

Nomadic Language Norman Manea Manea, Norman 1

On Norman Manea's The Hooligan's Return Matei Calinescu Calinescu, Matei 27

Writing about Uprootedness Henryk Grynberg Grynberg, Henryk 51

Exile as Life after Death in the Writings of Henryk Grynberg and Norman Manea Katarzyna Jerzak Jerzak, Katarzyna 75

The Writer as Tour Guide Lara Vapnyar Vapnyar, Lara 92

Questions of Identity: The New World of the Immigrant Writer Morris Dickstein Dickstein, Morris 110

A Displaced Scholar's Tale: The Jewish Factor Geoffrey Hartman Hartman, Geoffrey 133

Exile: Inside and Out Bronislava Volkova Volkova, Bronislava 161

From Country to Country: My Search for Home Zsuzsanna Ozsvath Ozsvath, Zsuzsanna 177

Finding a Virtual Home for Yiddish Poetry in Southern Indiana Dov-Ber Kerler Kerler, Dov-Ber 216

Afterword Eva Hoffman Hoffman, Eva 234

List of Contributors 247

Index 251

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